Thinking Anglicans

this week's opinion collection

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times, The moral integrity that makes for a powerful speech.

George Pitcher writes in the Telegraph, The Prince of Wales must keep the faith.

Nick Jowett writes in the Guardian about Baron Friedrich von Hügel.

Earlier this week, Giles Fraser wrote in the Guardian about Proposition 8 in California, Sanctified discrimination.

Yesterday, in the Church Times he wrote Forces buck the me-first trend.

At Comment is free Belief the Question is Should we fight war to end wars? Those responding include Jonathan Bartley, see Redemptive violence is a myth, and Alan Wilson, see Crusading gives me the creeps. So does Valhalla.

And thanks to both Alan Wilson and David Keen, for linking to How To Actually Talk To Atheists (If You’re Christian) by Joe the Peacock.



Tomorrow, there is a meeting, the National Evangelical Anglican Consultation 2008, organised by the Church of England Evangelical Council. There are a number of articles about this already published.

The programme is here.

This week’s Church of England Newspaper has Preventing CEEC from becoming a ‘Rump Parliament’ by Stephen Kuhrt.

John Richardson has responded here to that article.

This week’s Church Times has Is NEAC5 really representative? by Graham Kings, currently subscription-only, but another copy is available here at Fulcrum.

Also, Andrew Goddard wrote Hopes for NEAC 2008: A Personal Reflection.


Fred Hiltz writes

Below the fold, there is the full text of a memorandum written to the Canadian House of Bishops in October 2008 by the Primate of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Part of this text was quoted in the statement issued by the Canadian House of Bishops on 31 October.



Write in Support of Women as Bishops

From the latest InclusiveChurch newsletter (available as PDF here) and online here.

Write NOW in Support of Women Bishops

(There is still work to be done!)

We have heard that Archbishop Rowan is receiving huge amounts of mail from those opposed to women as bishops and to having a Code of Practice. The opponents of inclusion are still fighting and believe that they can still change or influence Synod’s decision.

Please write to the Legislative Drafting Group (who are creating the legislation to include women as Bishops in the Church of England). We should also write to Rowan as Chair of the House of Bishops making similar and related points.

We need to act quickly because the Legislative Drafting Group meets next on 14th November and the House of Bishops meets next on 12th December.

It is vital to mobilise ALL those in the Church who want to have women as bishops, and who think a Code is an acceptable way forward.

Once again, reactionary conservatives / fundamentalists have pulled out all the stops to try to shake Rowan’s confidence that going ahead is the right thing at this time and that a Code will suffice.

We need to be able to show that we speak for the vast majority of Anglicans in this country.

Some points that could be made in a letter include:

• We know that the Church is ready for and wishes to have women as bishops

• General Synod is competent to decide on having women as bishops

• General Synod in July showed some of what Synod did not want. This must not be put into the Code.

• A Code of Practice CAN work (Forward in Faith is saying it cannot work).

• There must be no separately consecrated bishops. In other words, no more ‘flying’ bishops, and those men who are currently flying bishops should be invited to become ‘proper’ assistant bishops, ministering to all in their area, not just to those who oppose women’s ordained ministries.

• Most of all, we must act in faith based on what we believe about what baptism in Christ means for all people, our mission imperative (over the past 2000 years women have been excluded from different types of ministry because of how it would affect the mission of the Church in the context of the surrounding culture. We need to be asking, what will help our mission now?), and trusting in where God has led us so far.

If you write nothing else, please reassure Rowan that there are many thousands of people in the Church who long to have women as bishops and who see this as God’s guidance and direction for the Church. He needs to be supported in his position as Archbishop of Canterbury and encouraged that the vast majority of the Church are behind him and the bishops in moving forward with consecrating women.

Letters to the Legislative Drafting Group should be sent to: The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishopscourt, Bury New Road, Manchester, M7 4LE

Letters to the House of Bishops should be sent to: Jonathan Neil-Smith, Secretary to the House of Bishops, Church House, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3NZ

With thanks to Christina Rees (Chair of WATCH)


Canada: update on blessings

Some developments since the previous report.

Montreal Gazette City’s top Anglican stands behind gay unions

Anglican Journal Diocese of Niagara bishop calls for rite for same-sex blessing


more comment from a Pittsburgh spokesman

The following report appeared in a Canadian newspaper, the National Post. The article was titled Breakaway Anglicans to form own body.

Dissident Anglican churches in Canada and the United States say they will form a new conservative jurisdiction in the next year, adding that the Archbishop of Canterbury has lost the moral authority to have any real say in blocking the radical move.

Parishes that have left their national churches over the issue of same-sex marriage and a general trend toward liberalism want to create a single “province” that would report to a conservative North American bishop who shares their values.

“I believe the next year will be critical,” said Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, which voted last month to leave the U.S. Episcopal Church. “The first proposals will be formed in the very near term, in a matter of weeks, frankly.”

Mr. Frank said that any opposition from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be moot because the spiritual head of Anglicanism has lost his moral authority.

“Frankly, [he] is not in a position to do anything. At this point, the leaders of a majority of the world’s Anglicans are going to recognize us when we [separate].”

But he added it would make it more difficult if Mr. Williams did not give his blessing.


Fort Worth prepares

Updated Thursday morning

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: Fort Worth diocese will vote on breaking away from Episcopal Church.

Meanwhile, some of those intending to remain in The Episcopal Church had an event titled The Once and Future Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth — Dealing with the present, planning for the future. Read about it in this blog article by Katie Sherrod.

And the Steering Committee of North Texas Episcopalians has prepared a range of materials for parishes to use after the vote.

Thursday morning update

There is an interview with the Bishop of Fort Worth, which contains much useful information, at Stand Firm see Stand Firm Interviews: Bishop Jack Iker by Greg Griffith.


opinion columns collected

In The Times Michael Smith writes that The crisis of confidence ignites a crisis of conscience.

In the Guardian Ian Bradley writes about TV talent shows in Face to faith.

At Comment is free Stephen Bates writes on How the faithful voted.

Gregory Chisholm at Thinking Faith explains What scares me about Obama (h/t Simon Barrow).

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Defending the Church by living out the gospel.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Dame Felicitas’s handwarmer sold by nuns.


Quincy votes to depart

Updated again Thursday morning

The Diocese of Quincy has voted to depart from The Episcopal Church and (separately) has voted to affiliate with the Province of the Southern Cone.

The Living Church has the details at Quincy Synod Votes to Join the Southern Cone.

Update Friday evening Episcopal News Service has a bulletin at Quincy members vote to leave Episcopal Church, align with Southern Cone.

Update Saturday evening

Episcopal News Service has this further very detailed report by Joe Bjordal Presiding Bishop says church laments Quincy departures.

Update Sunday morning

The Peoria Journal-Star has Episcopal diocese leaving national church by Erin Wood.

The Associated Press has 3rd Episcopal diocese splits from national church by Rachel Zoll.

Update Tuesday morning

Quad-City Times Episcopal Church split might turn into conflict over property by Deirdre Cox Baker

Update Thursday morning

There is a further report in the Living Church Quincy Promises ‘Christian Charity’ for Remaining Episcopalians.


still more about that London church service

Further to the recent announcement reported here, today Martin Dudley has a letter to the editor published in the Church Times. The original is subscriber-only at present, but it has nevertheless been reproduced in full by other websites and so can be read here, and is further copied here.

Martin Beckford has written about it on his Telegraph blog under the title Gay wedding: Dudley insists there was no apology and no frank discussions.

Martin Dudley was also nominated for the Stonewall Hero of the Year, but didn’t win. He did however get his picture taken with the winner.


news from Pittsburgh

Updated again Sunday morning

The Southern Cone-affiliated Diocese of Pittsburgh held a convention today, and the former Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan was elected as its bishop.

See this press release, Diocese Re-Elects Bishop Robert Duncan.

See also this earlier item Bishop Robert Duncan’s Vision for the Diocese.

Addition More detail about this event can be found here. It includes this:

Given the asides that had been dropped throughout these presentations, Bishop Duncan at one point took the stand to address the question of a new province. It was “very near” he said, and recognition might come as early as December. Certainly, it is hoped that a draft constitution will be presented at the December meeting of the Common Cause Partnership.

Meanwhile, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh which is part of The Episcopal Church in the USA has announced a Special Convention to occur on 13 December.

See several announcements, about the location, about the certification of deputies, and about nominations.

Saturday evening update

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a report by Ann Rodgers Duncan elected bishop of breakaway Episcopalians. In this article she refers to the breakaways as Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican).

Lionel Deimel has written further about various issues of terminology, at The Anglican Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Sunday morning update

Episcopal News Service has a report by Matthew Davies and Mary Frances Schjonberg headed Deposed Pittsburgh bishop elected to lead former Episcopalians, realigned diocese.

The Post-Gazette has a further story, Episcopal bishop Duncan stressing ministry.


CAPA meeting report

A statement from the meeting held in September in Nairobi has now been published on Global South Anglican.


We met as Primates of Africa together with the Standing Committee of CAPA at the ACK Guest House on the 3rd and 4th of September 2008. This meeting provided the opportunity to reflect on our journey since our last Council Meeting in Mauritius in October 2007 and also on our experiences of life in the Anglican Communion; particularly in relation to the two great events of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and the Lambeth Conference.

We felt a deep sense of warmth and fellowship with each other and expressed gratitude to God for his faithfulness. We were however saddened by the absence of our colleagues namely Archbishop Ian Ernest our Chairman who was ill; Archbishops Peter Akinola and Mouneer Anis, who had difficulties with flight connections. We were glad to welcome Bishop Jo Seoka, who represented Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. We welcomed Rev Canon Grace Kaiso our new General Secretary and his Commissioning at All Saints Cathedral was one of the highlights our meeting…


Obama and Robinson

Updated Friday evening

Ruth Gledhill has a report in The Times headlined Barack Obama asked gay bishop Gene Robinson what it was like to be ‘first’.

Bishop Robinson, in London as a guest of the gay rights group Stonewall for its annual “Hero of the Year” awards dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum tonight, said that Mr Obama’s campaign team had sought him last year and he had the “honour” of three private conversations with the future president of the United States last May and June.

“The first words out of his mouth were: ‘Well you’re certainly causing a lot of trouble’, My response to him was: ‘Well that makes two of us’.”

There is a transcript of this interview, together with audio recordings, on her blog, under the heading Obama and the Gay Bishop: ‘Three Private Meetings’.

Friday evening update

The Hero of the Year Award was in fact awarded to Bishop Robinson. This award is based on the votes of Stonewall supporters, as is the annual Bigot of the Year Award, which last year was also won by an Anglican bishop.

See Stonewall press release here:

Hero of the Year chosen by Stonewall supporters – Rt Revd Gene Robinson. Openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire. Has bravely endured sustained personal attacks in recent months, as church debate on homosexuality has intensified. Recently barred from Lambeth conference.


Is the US still 'one nation under God'?

This is the question now being asked at Comment is free Belief:

Is the US still ‘one nation under God’?
After the election, will America still be one nation? And will it still believe that it shelters under God’s providence?

Judith Maltby responds from Urbana, Illinois that The vision survives in surprising places.
In Muslim America and in Episcopalian churches, it’s an ideal that still has has traction

The Farmers’ Market in Urbana, Illinois on the Saturday morning before the US election seemed a good place to get some views on this question. Among the stalls groaning with more types of squashes than I knew existed, was the Champaign County Democrats table. It was being staffed by Al Kurtz, a Democrat on the county board. What did he think? He was upbeat. (I would have, just to be clear, put this question to the local Republicans, but they weren’t at the Farmers’ Market – Illinois’ electoral college votes are about as safe as they can be in Senator Obama’s bag.)

Earlier responses:

Neither one nation, nor under God by Harriet Baber
In 2008, American religion is inextricably linked to social conservatism and the political right

One nation under secularism by George Neumayr
If America is still one nation, that is because no one who might be elected to public office takes religion as seriously as its founders did


PB visits Pittsburgh

Updated Tuesday morning

The Diocese of Pittsburgh reports: Presiding Bishop Visits Calvary Episcopal Church, and the full text of her sermon is available here (PDF file).

Press reports:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Top Episcopal leader visits troubled members by Ann Rodgers

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Episcopal leader says exodus ‘tragic’ by Bonnie Pfister

There is a further diocesan announcement: Bishop Jones To Make First Parish Visit.


ENS has a full report by Mary Frances Schjonberg All involved in Pittsburgh split are saints, Presiding Bishop tells Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Part of that report:

Many of the questions concerned the tensions in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion that led to the October 4 vote. More than once, Jefferts Schori suggested that those tensions would ease in the next few years. She said that more bishops across the communion have a better understanding of the complexity of the issues. Those bishops have said “‘we don’t agree, but we recognize you are called to follow where you believe the Spirit is taking you, and we are called to try to understand that,’” according to the Presiding Bishop.

Others questions addressed theological matters, including the issue of whether Jefferts Schori had suggested there are ways to salvation other than following Jesus.

“That’s not what I said,” Jefferts Schori said, explaining that she has noted in the past that “most Christians believe Christ died for all, as savior for the whole world.”

She said she has also cited the Bible’s record of God’s promises to the Jewish people and other promises that “were not broken by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.”

“Therefore, Jews have access to salvation without consciously saying ‘Jesus is my Lord and savior.’ I didn’t do that; God did it. I also see that God made promises to Hagar and Ishmael, whom Muslims claim as their ancestor,” she said. “I don’t think God broke those promises when Jesus came among us.”

Jefferts Schori had touched on the question during her sermon, noting that “Episcopalians and other Christians wrestle with how broadly to understand the family of God, and whether non-Christians are included, for we can certainly point to holy examples who show us what God at work in the world looks like — people like the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi.”

She suggested that “it seems more fruitful to remember that Jesus’ saving work was and is for the whole world, and that our baptismal promises are about living holy lives, together, in community.”


GAFCON and Sydney

Here’s even more criticism of what the Diocese of Sydney has recently said.

Over at Fulcrum Graham Kings has written:

The Diocese of Sydney, in allowing deacons, and (also in principle) lay people, to preside at Holy Communion, are breaking point 7 of the Jerusalem Declaration, which specifically upholds the ‘classic Anglican Ordinal’. This particular point needs noting.

7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.

The secretariat of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is based in the Diocesan Offices of the Diocese of Sydney. The Honorary Secretary of the FCA is the Archbishop of Sydney. It would be good to hear an explanation of this contradiction…

Then at the Prayer Book Society of the USA Peter Toon has written GAFCON & the Bishops & Diocese of Sydney! An excerpt:

My earnest suggestion to the leadership of GAFCON is this:

After appropriate warning, the Council of Primates of GAFCON should expel the Bishops and Diocese of Sydney immediately: by this action GAFCON will maintain its committed to the biblical, classic Anglican Way and will show that it does take discipline (a mark of the true church) seriously.

If GAFCON does nothing and allows the Diocese of Sydney, with its innovatory doctrine, and pride in that innovation, to remain as a full member, then GAFCON will become, and will be seen by thousands, as merely and only an international, Evangelical Anglican Group — with no serious claims to a serious catholic ecclesiology and historic Ministry, and no real opportunity or intention to set a godly example to the whole Anglican Communion of Churches.


Maurice Sinclair argues for a new North American province

A former Primate of the Province of the Southern Cone, Bishop Maurice Sinclair, has written an article, available at Global South Anglican, Why support an Anglican Province of North America in process of formation?

He starts out:

The question of the formation and recognition of a new Anglican Province in North America is currently being debated in the Anglican Communion. There is the urgent need on the one hand to regularise the situation of Anglicans who cannot in conscience assent to the innovations in doctrine and ethics being introduced into the life of TEC. On the other hand there is a natural reluctance to create a rival body alongside what has been a historic part of the Anglican Church. Institutions tend to avoid decisive measures, and minimise risk. However, reasons are given here for giving official support to the first steps in the formation of the new Province. It can be argued that failure to take these measures actually increases risk to the institutional as well as the spiritual life of the Communion…


John Rodgers criticises Ian Ernest

AMiA Theologian Challenges CAPA Chairman Over Nature of the Church reads the headline at Anglican Mainstream South Africa. The article begins:

A theologian and former seminary Dean says that Archbishop Ian Ernest, chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), misunderstands the nature of the church when the prelate recently called upon the African church to put aside its differences and engage with its theological opponents within the Anglican Communion.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. John H. Rodgers addressed the Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius saying Ern[e]st misunderstands the nature of the Church failing to see the difference between the Church Visible and the Church Invisible…

Read it all here.


further reports on Sydney

The Church of England Newspaper had it on the front page. See Mixed response to Sydney communion decision by Toby Cohen. (In the paper edition, this story was headlined Sydney says deacons can now preside.)

The main report inside the paper was Sydney allows deacons to administer Communion, on a point of grammar by George Conger.

Forward in Faith has issued a rather brief and muted statement, see FiF reacts to recent news from Sydney.


reports on GAFCON and the Covenant


George Conger reports in the Church of England Newspaper that Gafcon leaders dismiss ‘futile’ covenant draft.

The proposed Anglican Covenant is an “exercise in futility,” theologians affiliated with the Gafcon movement tell The Church of England Newspaper, and the current draft is beset with “a considerable degree of theological confusion.”


The latest Fulcrum newsletter is Life After Lambeth by Andrew Goddard. This also discusses the Covenant and GAFCON.